I've been attending its conference annually for the past few years, helped organize the last two, but this was my first as a presenter.
I was excited. I was honored.
But somehow, I kept forgetting the date.
Like when my parents checked & rechecked that I'd be able to take them to the airport if they left for Nebraska on September 22nd. Of course. Yeah, sure - whatever.
Except September 21st was the big presentation. In Fort Lauderdale. Five hours away.
Now, the thing is? We all like learning things and comparing notes on professional matters. But it's also a solid social tradition. Times are had. And Friday night is the main event.
When I first pieced together that I couldn't stay Friday night, I may have literally smacked my forehead. Then I sorta let it go. I figured it would just keep me out of trouble, so to speak. Then as departure grew nearer, I got happier & happier about it. And when I left Thursday morning for work, I was downright ecstatic to be able to tell my daughter: "I'll see you tomorrow night." (Sure, I had to drive the length of Florida twice in between, but I digress.)
That hug on Friday night with the accompanying "Mommy!" and insanely huge hug? - no place I'd rather be.
Then today. When I would have been nursing a hangover of whatever magnitude, while sitting in a conference room. (Well, first we got up at the crack of dawn to take my parents to the airport. But then ..) we went to Cracker Barrel for a darned delightful breakfast.
Even the hash brown casserole couldn't compare to the General Store though. My little girl apparently is ready to be a big sister or something.
So sweet to watch. But really, after 15 solid minutes, we did have to pick her up & carry her out (with just a little kicking & screaming). Because hey - we had to get to ...
to the ZOO!!!!
Kiddo had 2 speeds: Flat-out-Run and Mommy-will-you-carry-Me? Because really, how can you pace yourself when there are leopard cubs? And giraffes to feed? And ELEPHANTS?
It was Elephant Appreciation Day, and they were selling paintings -- BY THE ELEPHANTS. So of course, we bought one. Because - it benefits Elephant Rescue, and what could be cooler in a little girl's room, for pete's sake!?
Also, as it turns out, the Zoo parking lot is a good place to have your battery be totally dead. Thanks Jacksonville Zoo security - that was one prompt & friendly jump.
And all this before I would even have left Fort Lauderdale. All in all, this little inconvenience worked out pretty conveniently for my little family.
Best part - we still have all day tomorrow! :)